Melanin gives the skin its colour. It is a pigment generated by the cells called melanocytes. Excess melanin leads to darker skin colour and is termed hyperpigmentation. When less melanin is generated in the body, it gives the skin a lighter colour and is termed hypopigmentation. Reasons for skin pigmentation include sun exposure (which leads to hyperpigmentation, causing the skin to get darker), hormonal changes, and certain skin disorders, like vitiligo. Skin pigmentation can also occur as a side effect of certain medications. Skin pigmentation is also linked with one’s genetic makeup. Skin conditions like acne leave dark spots, causing post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation. Freckles, dark patches, and melasma are other forms of skin pigmentation, which aggravate due to sun exposure.
Tanning is a type of hyperpigmentation in which the sun rays lead to the excess generation of melanin causing the skin colour to turn darker. Specifically, exposure to ultraviolet radiation from the sun, leads to the excess generation of melanin, further leading to tanning. Spending too much time in the sun causes discolouration of the skin, causing it to get a darker tone. Tanning beds cause genetic damage to the outermost layer of the skin. The skin, in an effort to prevent further injury, generates more melanin, resulting in darkening of the skin colour which is referred to as a tan.
Thus, you can see that skin pigmentation and tanning are interrelated because tanning is a type of hyperpigmentation. The difference between tanning and pigmentation of the skin is that the former is caused by overexposure to the sun or due to tanning beds, while pigmentation has several reasons ranging from certain health conditions and medications to hormonal fluctuations and genetics. Skin pigmentation treatment would vary based on the cause of the skin condition. Since tanning is a form of hyperpigmentation mainly caused by UV rays of the sun, hyperpigmentation treatments are effective for tanning. Limiting sun exposure and using sunscreen and protective gear while going outdoors are helpful in preventing a sun tan.
For expert advice on skin pigmentation and tanning and the best treatments for the same, approach ClearSkin, a reputed skin clinic in Pune. They have a team of experienced dermatologists who can guide you well and help you achieve healthy and glowing skin.